75 hard – The first 30 days

Why am I doing a 75 hard challenge after cancer treatment? I was in hospital a couple of weeks ago.

I must be crazy, right?  Haven’t I been through enough? Well, I’ve got form for crazy so I’m going to give it a go.  After a year or so of telling people about my cock, failing at this is the least of my problems.

As a quick overview, 75 hard is a lifestyle challenge.  It forces to you to be disciplined, and healthy.  To eat right, to exercise, and to enrich yourself through reading.  You have to follow the rules every single day for 75 days.  If you fail, you go back to the beginning.  No excuses.

I’m going for an 83 (ish) day hard, because it works nicely for me.  Starting on the 2nd January and finishing on the 26th March 2021. Plus, if I fall off the wagon in the first few days I can start again and still complete 75 days.

So what?

The biggest impact of cancer surgery on me has been on my legs.  I know what you’re probably thinking… but my cock is fine.  Thanks for thinking of me though, it’s appreciated.

My legs look normal, but under the surface things need to be managed.

Having all of my inguinal lymph nodes and most of my pelvic nodes removed means that lymph is harder to push around my body.   To counteract that, I’ve started running again and I’m hitting the weights.  My diet plays a big part too.  Cutting out inflammatory foods is a really important thing for me long term, so I’m rolling all of my needs into the plan.

I’ve got history on this kind of thing

I lost 9 stone once.  Living all over the place on an investment bank expense account took its toll on my gut, so I dealt with it.  I’ve ran marathons and swam in the sea.  I’ve cycled hundreds of miles, climbed big things and played plenty of competitive (and not so competitive) sport.

But, that was before I had a year off being treated for cancer. A year of letting my body recover and doing what I liked. That was with a normal body. I don’t really have any idea what I’m capable of now, so I’m going to test it.

I don’t actually know what my body will look like in the future either. It’s a mystery. Having surgery on my pelvis, and the disruption to lymph flow up my body might just mean I always look swollen around my gut. Or it could be that my body will just bounce back to normal.

Also, we live in unprecedented times.  COVID means we’ll probably be locked down until after the Easter holidays, so I may as well use all that exercise time that Boris has sanctioned…

What I want to get out of this
  1. I’m not worried about my weight, but I’d definitely benefit from being leaner. The last time I was at a 3hr 30m marathon weight (just under 16st), my wife said I “looked like I had AIDS” so I’m going to try and steer clear of that. I’m not old, but I’m not young either so I need to be sensible about how much weight I carry
  2. I need to pack on muscle in my lower body and trunk. This is all about moving lymph around, and future proofing my legs against swelling and infection
  3. I have to cut down or cut out all my inflammatory foods. For me that’s most sweet things apart from fruit. It’s also most dairy and red meat too. Seeing as those are my favourite things, it’s not going to be easy. Cutting out sugar is my top priority.
  4. I want to be fit enough to run a half marathon in the spring
How I’m going to do it

75 hard has some simple rules to follow, so I’ll follow those and add a few tweaks along the way too.  Every day I’ll take a picture first thing in the morning, probably in my pants – but that’s all you’re getting.  I’ll write the diary every day and talk about what I ate, what I did, what I read etc.  The rules are;

I must follow a diet

This one is quite easy for me. I’ve been practising intermittent fasting for years and the OMAD diet works really well for me. If all the extra effort from exercise means I need more fuel, I’ll move to the 16:8 diet. I already eat a lot of fibre, lots of greens and plenty of fruit. I probably only eat meat twice a week now. I’ll also give up the sweet treats apart from fruit.

There’s going to be a lot of guesswork on what I need to eat. Because I am a giant, my basal metabolic rate (BMR) or what I just need to just exist is typically around 2500 calories. I would burn that laying around in bed. I’m going to guess that I probably have 80,000 excess calories in body fat that I can burn off…

If I burn 500-1000 calories every day for 83 days, my one meal is going to need to be enormous by the time I’m 6 weeks into this diet. I’ll probably hit the right size and shape for me by around day 45. That could also be the point that I switch over to a 16:8 eating plan.

Importantly, the rule stipulate NO ALCOHOL, NO TREATS, NO CHEAT MEALS. That’s fine by me I guess.

I must drink a gallon of water every day.

I’m might have to freestyle on the water component, because heavy water loading messes with my legs. I’ll probably manage a gallon, but I’m going to be using the NHS definition of water – which includes black coffee, black tea etc. Because I eat a lot of fruit and veg, I’ll always be getting my fluids.

I must do two 45 minute workouts a day, and one of them must be outside

I’ve not really picked the right time of year for this…  Freezing cold for the first 6 weeks, then rain for the rest!  My go to outdoor exercise will be running, but I’ll be walking too and I even lift weights outside. 

I’ll be doing calisthenics indoors, and doing them every day.  They’re low intensity and I can fit them in around other stuff.  I’ve got a few other little objectives too, like how long I can hold a plank for, how many pressups and pullups I can do etc.

I’m going to do a 5×5 strength plan.  But instead of traditionally splitting compound exercises by leg day, back, upper body etc – I’m going to do complex compounds.  Full body exercises, all in one very taxing movement.  Deadlift, bent over row, clean and press, overhead squat.

I will need heavier weights relatively soon, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I must read ten pages of a book

No problem, I read loads of books.

I be tough guy, tough like bear. So the next 83 days is going to have a Russian theme, starting with Putin’s people – how the KGB took back Russia, and then took on The West by Catherine Belton. Once I’m done with that, I’m going to move on to The Kremlin school of negotiation, by Igor Ryzov. I’ll keep you posted on my levels of excitement.

I must take a photo of myself every day.

OK, that sounds simple enough. It’s not going to be pretty, but it is what it is. I’ll add them all together on day 83 and publish one of those time lapse things.

Day 1/83

You can call me Mr Potato.

I am definitely suffering from the excesses of the festive period. I have piled on a few unexpected pounds, and I feel the fattest I’ve been in ages. Not to worry though, as this new miserable challenge will strip me of such a burden. I guess there’s no better day to start.

I’m not sure how I feel about this challenge yet, I only decided to do it yesterday. Is it really going to be that difficult? I have a feeling that starting is going to be the hardest part. The first 7-10 days of dealing with double exercise sessions, plus the inevitable withdrawal symptoms after festive excess will hurt. Once I’m done with that, I’ll be fine. Probably.

  1. 1. Walk/run session, and a 2km walk up a hill on the way home 60 mins
  2. 2. Calisthenics – Calf raises, 100 incline push-ups, 2 minute plank! That’s one of my goals already nailed and it’s only the 2nd of January
  3. 3. 5km walk with the family – 60 mins

Sticking to the OMAD diet for the time being, and that’s probably going to stay that way for at least 6 weeks.

As expected, one big (huge) meal at 6pm.

2 Weetabix & 2 punnets of raspberries, Jar of pickled gherkins (I wanted the pickle juice for a salad dressing), 500g of crunchy salad with blue cheese (and my special pickle juice dressing), Cavolo Nero steamed with a knob of butter, Spatchcocked chicken, cooked on the barbecue.


Surprisingly I managed to get a gallon in. 4.5 litres to be exact… It doesn’t feel like it’s had any ill effects on my legs. If that’s still true in the morning, I’m making progress.

I’ve drunk a litre of mint tea today, and half a litre of black coffee, plus three litres of water. It was easier than I thought it might be.


I’ve made a start on the Putin book, but nothing exciting to report just yet. I spent an hour reading cookery books too though, which is far more enriching as far as I’m concerned.

In conclusion

Quite an easy day 1. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything, although I have had to have strong words with myself not to hoover up the last piece of flapjack or yule log in the fridge. It was just safer all round for them to end up in the bin.

I’m going to have to get up early tomorrow for the first exercise session, before either of the kids wake up. That might not be straightforward.

Day 2/83

So far, so good.

I felt a bit stiff this morning. That could be down to my unexpectedly impressive plank performance yesterday, or it could be the 100 push-ups. Whatever it is, it’s going to be even worse tomorrow.

I was up early today waiting for the Ocado man, and as soon as the light was good enough I headed out for my first exercise session. The weather is lousy this time of year. It’s -1c, drizzly and with a biting wind across the open fields.

In the back of my mind, I know that I’ll always feel better when I get home after a session. However hard it feels when I start.

Today is a weights day, so I might need a bit of meat in my meal later. I’m going to be starving tomorrow and I’ll really suffer with my run in the morning if my body can’t repair itself. I don’t feel hungry now, but I have a feeling it’s going to get tricky by mid afternoon…

Me, struggling at first light.  Pest House Lane, Hertfordshire.
Me, struggling at first light. Pest House Lane, nr Ware, Hertfordshire.
  1. 8km/5 mile walk – 90 minutes
  2. Calisthenics – Calf raises, 50 incline push-ups, 2 minute plank!
  3. 5km family walk – 60 minutes

OMAD for now, just the big traditional Sunday evening meal. Mine is bigger than most though…

Bowl of granola, two punnets of pineapple, crunchy salad with blue cheese, toad in the hole, sweetcorn, tender-stem broccoli, two apples.


Still surprised I’ve managed to get a gallon in for the second day running. 4.5 litres is more than I’ve drunk on any day in the last 13 months. My legs are fine and, perhaps even more surprisingly, I haven’t had to dash to the toilet every 10 minutes.

I’ve drunk half a litre of mint tea today, and half a litre of black coffee, plus three and a half litres of water. So far, so surprising.


This Putin book is hard going. But, I also read cookery books for at least an hour. That’s very enriching. The meals I cook for the family over the next few weeks and months will be too!

In conclusion

I’m going to suffer in the morning. Those complex lifts I decided on earlier are already making my legs fizz, and I haven’t enjoyed walking up the stairs much. Everything is tender, especially my chest which has come in for some particularly harsh treatment these last two days.

Tomorrow I’m out on an early run, and the first interval is 50% longer than the last time. I’m determined not to fail a run, but I’m also quite concerned I won’t be able to walk when I get out of bed in the morning.

I guess I’ll worry about that tomorrow.

Light reading.  Oh and Putin's people, which... isn't.
Light reading. Oh and Putin’s people, which… isn’t.

Day 3/83

Not as stiff as I’d expected

It’s not as bad as I feared it might be. My legs ache a bit from the 5×5 yesterday, and my knees aren’t great. But, I’m ok! I’m going to stick with what I’m doing for a while, and build up the weight slowly.

Drinking a gallon of water doesn’t seem to have had any ill effects on my lymphedema legs, which is amazing. I’ve decided to go back to my old routine of drinking a litre of water when I wake up too.

It’s warmer today, actually above freezing at 3c. It’s windy though, with a light rain just delightful enough to make you wish you had stayed in bed.

I’m starting the day with a run again, and I’ll be running for 20 minutes with a bit of walking either side.

  1. 1. Walk/run session, tough, plenty of hills – 60 mins
  2. 2. Calisthenics – 2 minute plank, 50 incline push-ups
  3. 3. 8km walk, two big hills – 60 minutes

OMAD is working great. Another big meal tonight, mainly plant based but I’ve found a really nice chorizo, so I’ve had a bit of that too.

2 punnets pineapple, 2 punnets pomegranate seeds, punnet of raspberries, bowl of granola, bowl of salad, 2 Jars of pickles (yes, I’m fully aware I have a problem), roasted cauliflower with harissa, roasted baby potatoes and chorizo, banana, ham and cheese sandwich, apple.


Drinking a gallon of water hasn’t proved to be a problem so far, today was no exception. I managed to drink a litre of mint tea, 500ml of green tea, 500ml of black coffee and 2.5 litres of water


I’m getting shot of this Putin book for the time being, and moving onto the Kremlin negotiation one instead… Even though I’m probably not going to need it any time soon. Picked up another cook book though, Simply by Sabrina Ghayour. That took a half hour of my time earlier

In conclusion

I feel really good. I’ve got another weights day next, so I might not feel the same way when I’m writing tomorrow.

Thundridge, Herts.  At the top of a massive hill.
Thundridge, Herts. At the top of a massive hill during an evening walk.

Day 4/83

75 not all that hard.

I felt pretty good this morning. Unfortunately I had to leap out of bed to put the bins out, but I’ve done ok! Today is a strength day.

5×5 outside and some calisthenics in the big areas I need to strengthen, and I’ll take a long walk later.

I was expecting to feel a bit more broken after this massive shock to the system. Maybe that will come at the weekend when I step the weights up, or when some of these longer runs take their toll.

Progress under the surface

I clearly don’t look any different yet, but I do feel like I’m starting to feel healthier. I’m standing up a bit straighter and moving around a bit faster.

It’s really important for me to start right this week. Not to go too hard on the weights, or too fast on the road. By doing that, I hopefully wont get injured or put my progress back.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow though, I’ve got a double run day. One in the morning, early on my own and another in the evening wife my wife. Both in the dark and freezing cold, and it will probably rain too. Lucky me.

  1. 5×5 in the garden. It was cold, wet, and really hard. I tried to concentrate on explosive movements through my legs and upper body to move the weight, and I’ll stick with that
  2. 5km walk
  3. Calisthenics; 50 incline push-ups, 2min plank, 50 squat jumps (I wish I hadn’t)

OMAD is my friend. I haven’t really worried about being hungry during the day at all, and I’ve focused on having one long evening meal with the family. Clearly I eat more, and bulk everything out with loads of salad, fruit and veg. But, I get to eat with everyone else.

2 punnets of pineapple, bowl of granola, 2 bowls of salad, Roast chicken, chorizo and potatoes, 2 apples, banana


Starting the day with a litre of water really works for me. It’s not nice to chug down a load of water, but it gets it out of the way.

3.5 litres of water, 500ml black coffee, 500ml mint tea


This negotiation book is much more my thing (although I’ve only read 20 pages). I’ve somehow rediscovered a passion for cooking lately, and have been reading Jamie Oliver’s 5 ingredients too

In conclusion

4 days done, it doesn’t feel all that hard. But I do have my eye on those two runs tomorrow…

Day 5/83

Big progress

I slept really well last night, and I feel healthier too. My breathing feels stronger, I’m standing up taller and I feel more active.

My body seems to be dealing with the excess water I’m drinking really well. The OMAD diet doesn’t seem to be preventing me from progressing with my running or my strength work either. I’m only 5 days in, but as it stands, this is all going rather well!


That early run never happened… My youngest was back to school today and events just took over, but I went on a long walk with some hills instead.

  1. 7 mile walk, 4 big hills
  2. 2 min plank, 50 incline push ups
  3. 5km walk run (managed to get that 20 minute run in, real progress)

Easy day today. Pineapple, pomegranate seeds, sausage bake and sweetcorn, two apples, jar of pickles (I’m probably going to need to see someone about this), Weetabix.


Still no problem getting the gallon of water drunk. 3 litres of water, 1 litre of black coffee, 500ml mint tea


Still learning about the art of Kremlin negotiation… I can’t put the cookery books down either at the moment.

In conclusion

I’ve covered a lot of tough ground today, and I think my hips and shins are going to hurt tomorrow. I’m going to try and get two sessions of 5×5 in, both outside. I’ll also try and get another easy walk in (around all the home schooling)

Jamie Oliver's sausage bake.  Ugly, but fabulous.
Jamie Oliver’s sausage bake. Ugly, but fabulous.

Day 6/83

I’m actually enjoying this.

I slept really well again, and woke up feeling great. I’m getting into a decent rhythm now, and I definitely feel like I’ve been exercising. 5×5 strength training has always worked for me when trying to get life back into my muscles, and nothing is better than big compound complex movements if you want to pack on muscle fast.

I have managed around 12km walking and running every day since I started the challenge, and that feels quite normal already. By the end of the month, I’d like to run at least 50km every week, progressing to 100km by the end of the challenge.


In just a few days, my body is really beginning to respond well to the exercise regime I’ve decided on. I’ll keep making it progressively tougher, both with strength and cardio training before I hit it really hard with a personal trainer next month.

  1. 5×5 strength training, outside. It was really tough today as I switched to a wide leg sumo style for the movements. If that doesn’t ache in the morning, I need to up the weights.
  2. Calisthenics, inside and outside. 2 min plank, 100 calf raises, 50 incline pushups
  3. 7 mile walk, outside

Surprisingly, I’m really enjoying eating well. Cutting out the sweet treats and making a big effort to prepare and cook my own big meals is making a huge difference. Eating so much fruit, veg and salad at the moment.

Pineapple, 2x pomegranate, 4 Satsumas, Rocket salad, roast chicken tikka with cauliflower and potato, naan, 2x punnets raspberries


3 litres of water, 1 litre of black coffee, 500ml mint tea


I’ll be an expert Russian negotiator by the end of the challenge at this rate

In conclusion

This all seems to be going rather too well at the moment! Hopefully I won’t pick up an injury and ruin it..

Winter sunset over the a10, Thundridge, Herts
Sunset over the a10. Thundridge, Ware, Herts.

Day 7/83

That’s a week out of the way then, just 11 left to go.

I’m a week in, and the progress from the running, the strength training, my diet and higher water intake is plain to see. My legs ache a bit, but they’re getting some shape and definition back. My body is clearly starting to change too.

Double exercise sessions are definitely tough though. It’s just the time it takes to do them, and trying to fit them in around everyday life. But, I’m recovering quickly and I haven’t picked up any niggling injuries yet.

I’m really glad I started the challenge, it’s given me the opportunity to focus on my health for a bit.

  1. 7 mile walk
  2. 5km walk/run with a 20 minute run

No calisthenics today, but I have put a new pair of trainers on. I felt a lot faster in the run too, it’s the first time I’ve felt like I had a bit of pace back in my legs. I could talk comfortably all the way round too.


Jar of pickles (quickly becoming my go to sweet thing replacement), 2x Pineapple, 2x pomegranate, big Turkish takeaway – beyti, hummus, sucuk, chop salad, granola.


1.5 litres of water, 1 litre of black coffee, 1 litre of mint tea, 1 litre of lemon water


More negotiation, or is it peregovory?

In conclusion

One week in, still happy. I’m really glad I took this challenge on.

Day 8/83

10% into the plan, and starting is always the hardest part

It’s time to kick things up a notch, with both the running and the strength training.

I’m definitely sleeping better, and while everything aches every morning, it’s no where near as bad as I expected it to be. I woke up naturally as soon as it was light, and went out for the first of three exercises.

  1. 5×5 strength training, modification to use overhead squats rather than back squats. Overhead squats are a really tough exercise, and not for the feint hearted. They’re more of a foundational thing, because if i get these right I’ll be able to deadlift and squat far more when I eventually get back in the gym. If they don’t leave me sore in the morning, I could be ready to start with the PT. (but they will)
  2. 18km walk along the river Lea
  3. 5km walk/run, including a 23 minute run

It’s a big eating day today to help with repair. Lots of fruit and veg still, but loads of protein too.

2 big bowls of salad, pomegranate, 2 punnets of raspberries, 3 egg tortilla with potatoes, sweetcorn and lardons, granola, sausages.


1 litre water, 2 litres lemon water, 500ml coffee, 1 litre mint tea


I’m well into the Kremlin school of negotiation now

In conclusion

I might be stepping things up a bit early, but it feels right. I’m doing another run tomorrow and Monday, and won’t have a break till Tuesday. It’s not like I’m going hard, and I can turn tomorrow’s run into a walk if I need to! I’m winning though, and tomorrow I’ll be more than 10% into the challenge.

It’s a weak milestone, but I’m a strong believer in the start being the hardest.

The River Lea at Bengeo, Herts
The River Lea at Bengeo, Herts

Day 9/83

There’s no going back now…

I’m past the point of no return now, and I’m not turning back. I’m properly committed to this challenge, and a couple of other mini challenges along the way too.

I’ve already started (and almost completed) couch to 5k, and I’ve decided I’m going to try a push up challenge to go with it. For some as yet unexplained reason, my chest seems to have gotten weak over the last year or so, and I really need to fix that.

If I get that challenge nailed in 30 days, I’m going to have a go at a pull up challenge afterwards.

A quick recap

If you’ve just started reading this, you’ll probably think I’m some kind of fitness fanatic. That couldn’t be further from the truth though! I just like challenges really…

My chest and shoulders are still pretty sore from those overhead squats yesterday, and my legs definitely feel like they’ve done some miles. No injuries yet either, which is a welcome bonus.

Yesterday I thought I’d be running today, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. The back to back daily runs really need a recovery day, so I’ll be out walking instead. I’ll go running tomorrow and strength starts again on Tuesday. To be honest, those overhead squats really take their toll, so I’ll be doing more of those.

  1. 5 mile walk with family, freezing cold.
  2. 2 minute plank, 100 calf raises
  3. 7 mile walk, hills, still freezing cold

Sunday means cooking a big piece of meat, and probably having some left over for Monday. Because I only eat once a day, I can eat whatever I like, but clearly I’ve banned any cakes, ice cream etc. I’ve been baking too (what a massive tosser I must sound).

I had a load of pastry in the fridge and thought I should use it. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it, plus the kids like my sausage rolls.

Sausage roll, roast gammon, cauliflower cheese and sweetcorn, pickles, apples, banana, satsuma, fruit tart (I might have baked those too)


After a few days, drinking a gallon of water isn’t all that difficult. In fact, I think your body just expects it.

2L water, 1L black coffee, 1.5L lemon water


“Goals have to be clear, simple and in writing. If they’re not in writing and reviewed daily, they’re not really goals. They’re wishes”

I couldn’t agree more Igor.

In conclusion

The two daily exercise sessions are now set in stone. Whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances – I go and do something. I think once this is all over, I’ll probably just go for one session every day and that will feel really easy.

Day 10/83

It’s time for another (small) challenge

Monday rolls by, and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m starting to look different and I’m sleeping better too. I decided to add another little fitness challenge to my list, and this time it’s a 30 day push-up plan. Push-ups are brilliant for building upper body strength and are a decent gauge of all round fitness. Now is as good a time as ever to up my push up game.

By the end of next week, I should be able to run 5km and I’ll be up to 10km in no time. I’ll be short of challenges by February, and it’s always good to have a couple on the go. Which reminds me, I need to install a pull-up bar in the garage too.

Today I’m back to interval running, to consolidate on my longer runs and I’ll start a new book.


It’s so much warmer today, 7c feels positively tropical after the last week or so.

  1. 2min plank, push ups, calf raises
  2. 7 mile walk
  3. Interval run

It’s a leftover day. No meat free Mondays for me, I’d prefer to use what’s in the fridge.

Roast gammon cold cuts, mac and cheese, salad, pickles, pomegranate, pineapple, granola


1.5L lemon, 1.5L mint tea, 500ml coffee, 1L water


I’m now a master of kremlin style negotiation, so I’ll finish that tomorrow. I’m going to get stuck into a book on innovation next.

In conclusion

I’ve had a couple of late walks already, which I’d like to change. The streets are deserted at night now, and it’s just boring. Even the A10 just 20 miles outside London is empty.

Back over the A10, with a hard lockdown back in place it's deserted.  I'm just 20 miles outside London too.
Back over the A10, with a hard lockdown back in place it’s deserted. I’m just 20 miles outside London too.

Day 11/83

A nothing day really

My chest, arms and shoulders really ache this morning. My legs are stiff too. All those new miles on the legs are starting to have an effect, and I can tell this push up challenge is going to test me quickly.

I’ve got so much on today, so it’s going to be another late one.

  1. 5×5 strength training, and calf raises. It’s really tough getting the weights up this morning, and overhead squats are hell
  2. 2 min plank, push up challenge
  3. 7 mile walk, which considering it’s freezing cold again at -3c wasn’t terrible.

No meat today. I haven’t had the time to go shopping, so I’m using up what’s in the fridge. It just so happens, there’s quite a lot.

Roasted cauliflower, Pineapple, Raspberries and shredded wheat, Granola, Bananas, Salad


1.5L water, 1.5L lemon water, 1L mint tea, 500ml coffee


I’ve just started no bullshit innovation. I don’t think that should take too long to finish…

In conclusion

A nothing day really. I haven’t exercised all that hard, I haven’t eaten all that much. It’s another run day tomorrow, and those nasty push-ups need to be done too.

Day 12/83

Today was the toughest yet

I am so sore this morning, I don’t feel all that well. The top half of my body aches and I’ve managed to catch a cold too. The daily planks and push-ups are hammering my chest and shoulders. I know it will get better, but today it’s really uncomfortable.

The weather has reached peak English January too. It’s barely above freezing and the rain is absolutely sheeting down. I’m really into the rhythm of this challenge now, I can’t make excuses for not going out and exercising. I’m past the stage of having withdrawal symptoms for cakes too. I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for nearly two weeks!

My body is definitely changing more noticeably now, as I start to slim down the sides of my body. My legs are getting their definition back, probably from all the walking, but maybe from the 5×5 training.


My running partner is held up today, so we’re doing running tomorrow. I’m off out for a 10 mile walk instead. It’s the furthest I’ve gone for a long time. The cold and the relentless pounding of winter rain is going to be a struggle.

  1. 5km country walk
  2. 2 min plank, push up challenge
  3. 10 mile walk, town and country

It’s Wednesday, and my fridge is almost empty. Home schooling, and having 5 in the house most of the time is taking a toll on my eating options. Alongside trying to eat seasonally, I’ve tried to make a point of using up whatever I can find in the cupboards too. All the things I’d never have eaten just ten years ago, are the things I go to now.

I actually feel really hungry today. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough to need to up my energy intake just yet. I’ll be sticking to the OMAD diet for a while, but it’s the first time in nearly two weeks that I’ve craved food.

Sausage sandwich, pineapple, shredded wheat with raspberries, salad


1.5L water, 1.5L mint tea, 500ml coffee, 1L water


Non bullshit innovation is a great book. I’ll probably have this finished by the end of the week. My daughter has me reading a Matt Haig Christmas book too, the girl who saved Christmas. I can’t stand his style, but he creates brilliant characters.

In conclusion

The muscle ache has been really tough today, and walking 10 miles in the dark, cold, wet streets of East Hertfordshire was rubbish too. But, I managed it. This has probably been the toughest day for me so far, especially with the hunger, but tomorrow’s another day.

Day 13/83

All these miles are starting to hurt

This new regime is becoming second nature now. I suppose the big change is with my exercise. Finding time to do two separate sets of exercise every day has been the toughest challenge so far.

Quite often I’ve had to go out in the dark, in filthy weather to get the sessions done. I guess if it was easy, it wouldn’t be called 75 hard though…

I’ve got some early signs of overtraining, as my resting heart rate is higher and my vo2 max is starting to drop off. I’ll need to find a way to work in some different types of exercise, like yoga or Pilates. That’s the only way I’ll continue to make progress.

My legs are really starting to improve. Lots of definition is coming back and I’m feeling stronger.

  1. Walk/run intervals
  2. 10 mile walk
  3. 2 min plank, push-up challenge

Chicken Tikka, cauliflower, potato bake thing, raspberries, pomegranate, bacon omelette


1.5L water, 1.5L mint tea, 1L lemon water, 500ml black coffee


More non bullshit innovation today. At this rate, I’ll be through half the books on the shelves in my office

In conclusion

I really need to keep an eye on the intensity of my training, as it’s clearly starting to take it’s toll. I’ll get through the next few days to reach the next running milestone and then I’ll start on the Pilates!

Day 14/83

Friday is just like any other day in lockdown

My arms, shoulders, chest and upper back are really starting to ache from this push-up challenge now. I really want to do it, but waking up feeling like this is really testing my resolve.

I’m really surprised at my progress though, I’m doing double the push-ups I could do when I started.

It’s Friday, but that’s just like any other day now. The lockdown is like that, being at home most of the day and just going out for food and exercise.

  1. 5km walk
  2. 2 min plank, push-up challenge
  3. 10 mile walk

It’s Turkish take-away night. Chicken beyti, hellim, sucuk, salad, pomegranate, pineapple


2L water, 1L lemon water, 1.5L mint tea


Non-bullshit negotiation is finished! No idea what I’m going to read tomorrow yet though

In conclusion

The change in exercise to do a few less miles can’t come a day too soon. My legs just need a bit of a chance to rest and rebuild. After tomorrow, which is a big run day, I’ll go back to calisthenics and lower impact cardio for a bit.

Freezing fog at Thundridge, Herts
Freezing fog at Thundridge, Herts

Day 15/83

It’s definitely time for a rest

Today’s the big run day. It’s been snowing all night and the roads aren’t the best for running, but we’re not allowed any excuses on this challenge.

According to my Apple watch, I’ve been burning around 1800 calories a day over the last week on average. With a resting rate around 2300 calories, I’m in serious deficit territory. Clearly, they’re not hugely accurate but it’s a decent guide.

My body is at the point where it’s changing every day now. I’m one of those people that puts a lot of extra weight on the back of my body, and the sides too. The excess on my chest is always the last to go.

  1. Long (?!) run. Well, my longest post cancer run to date at 28 minutes
  2. 10 mile walk. It was really tough towards the end, climbing the enormous hill towards the house.

I’m going to write about fasted running, and all the exercise I do in a fasted state. It’s just not the same when you haven’t eaten.


I’ve eaten really well today, I think I needed it too. Still on the OMAD diet, but I got plenty in over my eating hour!

Bacon rolls, new potatoes, pickles, granola, banana, satsumas, apples


1L water, 2L mint tea, 500ml coffee, 1L lemon water


I’ve just started Contagious, by Jonah Berger

In conclusion

I’m glad I’ll be easing up on the miles tomorrow, my legs just need a rest. I suspect that we’ll go on a family walk, but that’s just a little wander in the country at whatever pace my little 2 year old can manage.

The biggest change for me over these last two weeks is giving up the caffeine. I thought I’d miss it more. I’ve definitely missed the sweet stuff, and the chocolate cake my daughter brought home certainly got my attention. But, I managed to resist.

I’m more than two weeks into the challenge now, and I haven’t even had a wobble yet. Right now, I’m really positive about the progress I’ve made.

Day 16/83

Sunday, the day of (active) rest

Today is going to be an active rest day. Over the last two and a bit weeks, I’ve taken almost 250,000 steps. Walking, running, on roads and farmland, up and down hills. My legs need a bit of a breather, but the breaks are really important. I can go big again tomorrow, and we might even try and go for another running record. The 30 minute run is in our sights!

Sunday is a family day. Fortunately the snow went away as quickly as it came, and today is quite mild for an English January. I’m going to be around the house or close to it all day, and later I’ll cook.

  1. 2x1m planks, 100 calf raise variations, push-up challenge, 50 jump squats, Pilates thing on YouTube
  2. Walk around the village with the kids, 5km

I haven’t done much today, but I’ve stuck to the rules and I’ve had two sessions of exercise over 45 mins. I had plenty in the bank too, as my Apple watch proudly proclaimed that my exercise averaged 2 hours and 5 minutes every day last week.

Why do I work calves so much? Well, I want to manage my lymphedema. It isn’t a problem at the moment, but I want to ensure my legs are as strong as they can be. Big muscles mean that more fluid can be sucked away.

I seem to have developed a couple of varicose veins. I have no idea how or why, but I’m going to have them looked at.


Pineapple, Pomegranate, Granola, Salad, Sausages, sweetcorn, yorkshire pud.

Sidenote: After the run yesterday, the familiar smell of ammonia was back. In the past, this only used to kick in on the really long runs. It’s a sign of my glycogen (or carbohydrate) being depleted and protein being burnt for fuel.

Because I only eat one meal a day, and I don’t really eat much in the way of energy rich carbohydrates this makes a lot of sense. All of the exercise I’m doing is fasted, I’m not going to change anything yet though.


I made a less than essential trip to Costa Coffee earlier. I didn’t feel too bad though, as the local constabulary had the same idea. 6 of them, in three different cars.

3L water, 1L mint tea, 500ml black coffee


I’ve moved onto Contagious – why things catch on, by Jonah Berger. Non bullshit innovation was really easy to fly through in a couple of days.

In conclusion

Another day done, and I’m glad I decided to slow it down a bit. I can go hard again tomorrow. Or, maybe Tuesday.

Day 17/83

I probably shouldn’t be enjoying this, but I am.

Every day when I wake up, I usually feel like I’ve been working out. The little aches and twinges from muscles building themselves, and creaky joints remembering their jobs.

I felt pretty fresh this morning though. Which is good, because it’s another run day. Half decent weather too, which is a welcome relief from some of the stuff we’ve had this January.

Just a bit of calisthenics, a run and a long walk planned for today. I’ve decided to take on another little challenge to keep me busy too. I’m going to virtually walk and run from Land’s end to John O’ Groats. (that’s the length of Great Britain if you didn’t know)

Land’s end to John O’ Groats is 874 miles, so if I do around 12 miles a day from now until the end of the challenge, I’ll nail it. Considering my runs and walks are getting longer all the time, I’m confident.


Another record breaking run today, as I managed 31 minutes and more than 4km. I’d have gone longer and further, but lots of the roads and lanes are flooded.

I’m really slow at the moment, which I think is down to me running everything in a fasted state. But 30 minutes is a big milestone, and something brilliant to build on.

  1. 6.5km walk run, 31 mins running
  2. 2x1m planks, push-up challenge
  3. 10 mile walk

Chicken fajitas, pomegranate, pineapple, pickles, granola


3.5L water, 1L mint tea


More of Contagious – why things catch on, by Jonah Berger. It’s a really good book.

In conclusion

I’m really happy that I’ve been able to get past the big 30 minute run barrier. My breathing is getting better all the time, and my legs stronger. It’s the first time in ages when I haven’t felt old beyond my years.

14 miles notched up today on the way to John O’Groats.

Body goals.  Child's drawing of a muscle man
Body goals. Sam with a glimpse into the future.

Day 18/83

It’s time to step it up

My arms ache, my shoulders and back too. I’m really enjoying the push-up challenge, but it’s working muscles that haven’t moved for a while. I think I’m going to have to start doing some mobility exercises too.

More calisthenics today, and the long walk of course. I’ve eased up on the heavier strength work for a while, but I’ll go back to it.

  1. 5km hill walk
  2. push-up challenge, 2x1m plank, dips, jump squats
  3. 10 mile walk

Lasagne, broccoli, salad, pineapple, pomegranate, pickles


2.5L water, 1L mint tea, 1L black coffee


More of Contagious – why things catch on, by Jonah Berger.

In conclusion

I’m really into my stride now, and I think I’m ready to really start pushing myself with the exercise more. I’m desperate to get back in the gym and lift big things, but they’re closed, so I can’t.

Another 13 miles on the road to John O’Groats.

Day 19/83

That’s the second big running target ticked off.

Fitness is like a snowball. It starts really small, you keep adding a bit to it and it gets bigger. You have to change direction sometimes, but once it starts rolling you can’t stop it.

All that groundwork, with plenty of miles, interval running, basic compound strength exercises and calisthenics is really paying off.

When I started my journey to get fit again after cancer treatment, I struggled with any kind of cardio, and I’d lost a lot of my strength. I’m still nowhere near where I was, but 19 days into this challenge my breathing is better and I’m feeling stronger.

Things are different now

I can’t be sedentary anymore. My health depends on me keeping strong, fit and having my lymphedema under control. After that 30 minute run a couple of days ago, it’s really clear that I need to be lighter. So I’m going to try and get my weight down to around 17 stone, or 240 pounds.

That might sound a lot. But I can easily carry 280lbs and not look much different! I’ve got to find 7 or eight minutes over 5km to get to my target pace, and the only way that’s possible is having less weight to shift.


Today is the day that I’m going to run 5km. However hard it is, however long it takes, it’s getting done.

The weather is disgusting. It’s not bitterly cold, but it’s wet and windy and I’d prefer to be indoors. Most of the country is flooded at the moment, and our rivers are full to bursting. That means road running.

Unfortunately, I live between three or four valleys in the East Herts countryside. That means I’m never far from a hill.

  1. 5km run. Hills, wind, rain, victory! Terrible time, but I don’t care
  2. 2x1m plank, plyometric lunges, jump squats, push-up challenge
  3. 15 mile rolling hills walk. My legs are going to ache tomorrow.

Salad, Pineapple, shredded wheat with raspberries, apples, chilli and rice


2.5L water, 1L mint tea, 1L black coffee


More of the same, it’s all about Contagious – why things catch on, by Jonah Berger

In conclusion

Really happy about running 5km, even if it was really slow. My lack of pace probably isn’t just about my weight, running in a fasted state isn’t going to help either. The first 15 to 20 minutes are just hell.

Not being able to use a gym might be a blessing. If I have to concentrate on bodyweight exercises, it could just be the right way to go.

Another 18 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 20/83

Time to plan

No big stuff today, just calisthenics and a couple of walks. Plenty of miles, but nothing heavy.

It’s a day for planning really.

Because I need to focus on weight loss for a while, I’m going to get really mean with my diet for a couple of weeks and double up on the runs. I’ll try and get a long run and a short run, or a long run and intervals in every run day. The longer I run, the harder it’s been, so I’ll try and get the long runs done in the mornings.

I’ll take meat out of my diet a few days a week and I’ll probably try and get a 48 hour fast in once a week too.

I didn’t ache this morning, which was a welcome change. I seem to be waking up naturally after 6 hours sleep every night too. That’s different.

  1. 5km+ hill walk
  2. Push-up challenge, squat jumps, 2x1m planks
  3. 12 mile walk

Pineapple, pomegranate, left over chilli and grains, pickles, roasted cauliflower


2.5L water, 1L coffee, 1L mint tea


Not finished Contagious – why things catch on yet, by Jonah Berger. I re-read a couple of chapters too.

In conclusion

No slip ups yet, and I’m 20 days in! I really miss cakes and stuff though. With the exercise getting harder, and my diet getting even stricter, I think the next couple of weeks is going to be tougher.

Another 16 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 21/83

Doubling up

I’ve made so much progress with my fitness, but I need to change it up a bit. Mostly, to shock my body into giving up more of my excess bulk. So I’m doubling up on runs a couple of days a week, starting today. I’ll introduce more exercise routines too, rather than just doing bodyweight stuff.

After the weekend, I’m going to try and make a bit of a diet change too. I’m going to try and do full keto. I’ve done it before so it won’t be a massive shock to me. Because I’m not really eating anything sweet and processed, it shouldn’t be as horrendous as the shock to the system that keto normally brings.

I’m going big on my running today, I’m doubling up. I wrote about it in my getting back on the road post, day 17.

  1. 2km walk, 6.5km run, 2km walk, 2km run
  2. 3x1km intervals

Raspberries, Blackberries, Granola, Shredded Wheat, Apples, Salad, Rocket, Turkish takeaway (Chicken, sucuk, hellim, hoummus, salad)


1.5L water, 1L black coffee, 1L mint tea, 1L lemon water


Still all over contagious. I might even read it again.

In conclusion

I’m really glad I managed to double up on my runs today. It’s going to be a big thing over the next few weeks. It’s time for a big change to the diet next and to introduce some different types of exercise.

I’m a quarter of the way through this challenge now, and it’s time to up the pace!

Another 12 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 22/83

Keep pushing forward

I really ache today. I feel stiff and congested and everything hurts, but I need to keep going. Today is the last day of my conventional diet, and tomorrow I’m going back to keto.

A few years ago, I used Keto to lose a load of weight, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so healthy, so I’m going back. I’ll still be doing OMAD, but making it keto.

But that’s tomorrow, and today I’ve got to find time for a couple of exercise sessions that won’t kill me.

  1. 15 mile walk
  2. calisthenics, push up challenge, 2min plank
  3. 5km night walk

Porkathon. Giant pigs in blankets, cauliflower, pineapple, pomegranate, pickles, granola, blackberries, raspberries, shredded wheat.


2L water, 2L mint tea, 500ml black coffee


Still flicking through Contagious, by Jonah Berger. I think I’m going with the automatic customer next.

In conclusion

The really long walk was a huge test for me. My legs have found new muscles that they haven’t used for years, but it’s important to keep pushing myself further. Just being out in the freezing cold and on my feet for 5 hours is a benefit. In order to run 10 miles, I need to be able to walk 15.

Another 18 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 23/83

Keto day 1

It’s a big day today. I’ve been doing OMAD for a while now, but it hasn’t been helping me massively with my inflammation. So, today I’m going back to a fully keto diet. It’s not something I’ve used for years, but I know what to expect, how it works and how I feel on it.

The snow has absolutely fallen down today, and it’s freezing cold everywhere. I’ve managed to pick up some weights too, which I can use to work on my legs. I made the decision last week that I don’t want to pile on loads of weight, quite the opposite. But, it’s clear now that I need to strengthen my body for running. That’s going to mean deadlifts. Just bodyweight ones, but nothing else works like a deadlift!

No conventional exercise today, it’s all about using what’s around me. Today is going to be a day for functional exercise.

  1. Moving half a ton of weight plates 50 metres from car to garage
  2. Shovelling 60 square metres of snow and building a snowman with it
  3. Clearing 100 square metres of paths
  4. 5 mile walk in the snow

Roast beef and gammon, cauliflower, cavolo nero


3L water, 1L mint tea, 500ml black coffee


Contagious, and The Automatic Customer

In conclusion

Switching to Keto was surprisingly easy. It’s only one day, but I expected the total block on all the carbs I loved, to be harder. Probably because my OMAD diet already keeps my insulin under control.

By the time I’m writing this in the evening, I already feel less congested and inflamed. Am I willing to give up all the food I love to feel healthier? Probably, yes.

The biggest test will come tomorrow when I try and add in some cheese, and see how that makes me feel. Maybe cutting out all the sugar means I can eat as much dairy as I like?! Probably not though.

The A1, somewhere in Cambridgeshire, covered in snow.  January 2021
The A1, somewhere in Cambridgeshire, covered in snow. January 2021

Another 5 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 24/83

Into the last 60 days.

I’m into the last 60 days now, and it’s flown by. I’m on the second day of keto too. I felt really good when I woke up this morning, no congestion at all. That could be down to the keto meal last night, or it could be down to me not eating cheese yesterday. I’ll test that out later.

A couple of brilliant emails came in over the weekend, with public speaking opportunities. Both of them virtual (of course), and neither in the UK – but both with huge audiences.


Today I’m back to the running, and I’ll try and get in a lot of calisthenics too. I need to change my push-up form, and move my arms much closer to my body. It’s incredibly hard for me, so I’ll start with some incline push-ups with the right form and see how I get on.

The weather is still disgusting, it’s been -8 during the night. The car doors are frozen shut and the roads are like ice rinks. There’s still plenty of snow on the ground here in the country though, so running will be fine.

My body is noticeably different now, with weight falling off all the time. I think keto is only going to accelerate that further. It’s about time too.

  1. 6.2km run. Rough terrain, 1km hill, snow, ice, mud.
  2. 5km walk
  3. Calisthenics, 100 incline push-ups, 2x1m planks

Day two of keto, and I’m getting right back into the swing of it.

Cold cuts left over from yesterday, roast gammon and roast beef, asparagus with parmesan, rocket and parmesan, pomegranate, raspberries, blackberries


2L water, 1L mint tea, 1L black coffee, 500ml lemon water


The Automatic Customer. Bit dull.

In conclusion

I think I might be down to the last possible inflammatory food to get rid of out of my diet. I woke up this morning feeling really good, so if I wake up tomorrow all congested again – the cheese probably has to go.

As I sit writing this, a few hours after my dinner I’m feeling a bit bunged up. I suppose having a reaction to gluten, sugar and dairy is nothing new, but I wont really be left with anything I like!

9 miles to John O’Groats

Day 25/83

It’s probably the cheese

It’s time to switch it up today. I’m going to use those weights in the garage.

I need a punchbag, a pull-up bar and maybe some kettlebells. Then, I’ll have a tidy little home gym that I can use for the next few weeks. I’ll get round to building a proper one eventually…

This morning I definitely felt a bit congested, so the cheese is probably to blame. I’ll keep cutting it down and see if I can find an amount I can live with before I cut it completely though.

  1. 5×5 deadlifts. Turns out my new 1RM is 1.5x bodyweight. I’m pretty weak, but that will improve in no time. Seeing as I haven’t picked up a bar in ages, I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself
  2. 100 incline push-ups, 2x1m plank
  3. 10 mile walk

Keto is definitely my thing. I’ll need to find a way to get more interest in my food, but I’ll stick to the basics for now.

2 burgers, bacon, salad with blue cheese, blackberries, raspberries, charred broccoli


2L water, 1L black coffee, 1L mint tea, 500ml lemon water


The automatic customer. Dull, I think I’m going to try something a bit different

In conclusion

Those deadlifts are definitely going to hurt tomorrow. The walk helped to loosen me up though. Tomorrow’s run is going to be hell on earth.

I’m excited to be back pulling some decent weight. I won’t overuse it, as I’ll get too heavy, but having really strong legs is important to me while I’m getting fit again.

The deadlifts and squats are just there to give me a strong core and powerful legs. I’ve made a promise to myself that I won’t hit the bench really hard and end up like Mr Incredible.

13 miles on the way to John O’Groats

Day 26/83

It’s definitely the cheese

What am I going to do without cheese? I’m going to have one more day of dairy, and I’m going to cook it instead of eating it raw on salad. If it still gives me trouble, it’s gone.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t nearly as congested as usual but I still have some inflammation. It’s just a bit harder to breathe first thing. My body looks different too. The change to the keto diet is having a dramatic effect. OMAD just really turbocharges keto.

Today is a run day. I can definitely feel I’ve been lifting weights, but getting out of bed isn’t nearly as hard as I expected. The morning routine went to plan, and by the time I got back home I wasn’t dreading the first exercise session. Which was a 6.2km run through my local countryside.

Run day 19

Now I’m officially back on the road, I’m journaling all my runs here.

My route is a mixture of road and trail running, flat and hills. The snow and slush has largely disappeared from the ground now and the weather is kinder too. I start with a kilometre of flat road, then a kilometre of hills. I know that if I can get to the top of this hill, that’s the hardest part of the run done.

When I ran most of this course two days ago, the conditions were really tough, but this feels so much easier already. My breathing is better and my legs are lighter.

The countryside is unusually quiet today. I would normally see plenty of faces, but this morning it’s just me and the open road.

By the time I reach the end with a little sprint finish, I’ve knocked another minute off my recent best. Progress.


It’s early days, but running does seem to be easier on keto. I’m definitely less congested and feel less heavy. It takes less time to get into the swing of things too. I’m probably into a (slow) running rhythm in 4 or 5 minutes, rather than the 15 + minutes it was taking last week.

Another really strange thing is just how much you sweat when running on keto. In a couple of minutes, I’m absolutely dripping with sweat and it’s smelly too. Not smelly like sweat, but smelly like nail polish remover. I don’t think Chanel will bottle it.

It seems like acetone is a major by-product of ketosis. It’s something I’d forgotten all about, but I guess I’ll just get used to it.

  1. 6.2km run
  2. 100 incline push-ups with the new form, 2x1m planks
  3. 12 mile walk

2 burgers, sausages, cauliflower cheese (yeah i know), salad, raspberries and blackberries


2.5L water, 1L mint tea, 1L black coffee


The Automatic Customer. Decided to finish it, I’ll never get that time back

In conclusion

Compression tights really work for me. Whatever the scientific research says they’ve helped me with my lymphedema, and they help with my recovery. I ache a lot less than I deserve to.

The weights haven’t killed me half as much as I expected them to, and the exercise and diet are really starting to make a difference to how I look, how I feel and my recovery. My swelling is almost non existent now, and I don’t know if that’s down to weight loss, keto, running or lifting weights. But together, it’s a potent combination.

Tomorrow I’m going to double up on weights and see how the recovery goes. Then, it’s a double up run on Friday or Saturday.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m back in control of my body.

Oh and the cheese thing? I felt pretty bunged up in the first part of my walk, but it subsided in no time. It might be because cheese is better for me cooked than raw, or it might just be that my body has less to deal with now. I’ll keep cutting down and see how it goes.

Another 18 miles on the way to John O’Groats

£35 well spent. These Adidas boost trainers have served me really well, but 500 miles is looming, and they need to be replaced soon.

Day 27/83

Taking a breath

I’m aching from a few days of exercise, so my best laid plains from yesterday are going to change. Until I’m used to doing heavy lifts again, my back is going to ache a bit.

The Keto diet is brilliant for me, nothing is better at shedding weight for my body than keto. But it’s just so boring. Especially if I can’t really eat cheese. I’m going to really cut down on it and see if I can keep a bit in my diet. There’s lots of really boring 80%+ cocoa chocolate for me to try too. I think that can wait.

My daughter’s online PE session this morning reminded me that I really love rowing. (yeah, she goes to a posh school) I’m going to need to get a rowing machine for the garage.

All the XL t-shirts I bought earlier in the year are now way too big. That’s the clearest sign of progress so far.


Taking it easier today. I think for now, that weights are just going to be for shock treatment a couple of days a week. Some more 25kg plates turned up today, because I’m a masochist really.

  1. 5km walk
  2. Farmers walks and shrugs with 25kg plates in each hand, 2x1m planks, 100 incline push-ups
  3. 10 mile walk

Pea shoot and parmesan salad, sausages, brussels sprouts and bacon, omelette, asparagus


3L water, 1L black coffee, 1L mint tea. It’s the first day I’ve drunk more than a gallon of water I think.


5 day weekend. I’ve had it on the bookshelf for a while, but never bothered picking it up.

In conclusion

Active rest day for me today. I’ll try and get back on it tomorrow. My legs ache already from all those miles I’ve been doing, but I need to run again.

Saturday is a super long walk day, so if I’m going to go hard it has to be Friday really….

Another 14 miles on the road to John O’Groats

Day 28/83

Make the aches stop

I’m still really achy. The diet change has made me feel a lot healthier, and that thick cardboardy bollock skin that I thought was permanent? Turns out that it’s now starting to return to pre cancer thickness.

I have to keep up the running schedule, but it never feels like it gets any easier. Maybe as more and more weight falls off, it will just click.

I’m really struggling with mobility in my hips, knees and ankles. I’m sure it never used to be this bad, but I’m not going to be able to get in a yoga or Pilates studio. I’ll have to fend for myself for a while.

The keto is going really well though, and restricting carbs hasn’t been nearly as hard as I expected it to be. The biggest change? Smaller poos, not as often.

Run day 20

It’s amazing that this is only my 20th run since I started trying to get fit again. Amazing to me anyway. In just a few weeks, I’m regularly running over 5k, running up hills and over muddy fields and through rivers. I say run, it’s probably more like plod. But, I don’t stop and I go out in any weather.

Everything is hurting at the moment. I don’t know if that’s down to overtraining running and walking, or weights, or both.

Keep pushing forward

Today I took on the longest route yet. It’s been heavily raining, the fields and paths are flooded, and the rivers are overflowing.

I took on a bit more road, and cut back through the muddy fields for the first mile or so. I’d forgotten how good cross country makes me feel, fighting against the heavy ground and the mud and the hills. I just hope that I’ll be fit enough to run Royston again later this year.

By the time I turn towards the first hill, my legs are fizzing and the blood is pumping. It feels so hard, but I know that if I reach the top, I’ll be rewarded with a long downhill stretch. The river has burst its banks, and I wade through knee high muddy water to reach the bridge. It’s the same a mile or so later, further downstream.

I’m slower today, but I don’t care. I’ve worked harder, gone further and endured more. I even eyed up a nice long hill that I’ll be using for training soon.

7.5km today, that’s almost a cross country race.

  1. 7.5km run
  2. 2x1m planks, 5×1 deadlifts, barbell complex
  3. 10km walk

It’s Turkish takeaway night, but no rice for me this week. Just a lamb and chicken kebab, salad, pomegranate, raspberries and blackberries


2.5L water, 1L mint tea, 500ml lemon water, 500ml black coffee


5 day weekend. I quite like this, even though it will probably never work for me.

In conclusion

I’m in desperate need of a switch up in exercise. I go really heavy on weights and only do compound lifts. It’s not as if I can do them every day. The running is going well in terms of my progress, but I need to factor in a double day in every three so i can get an extra rest day in.

Stretching and joint mobility is going to be really important as I get older. I’m probably going to introduce more plyometrics and box jumps. I’m going to look a massive dick doing all that, but it’s not like that’s ever stopped me doing anything.

Another 12 miles to John O’Groats

Day 29/83

Big miles

Saturday. The weather is absolutely filthy. Flakes of snow swirl through the air, it’s -2 and it’s windy too. There will be rain and sleet pretty much all day.

I’m coming round to the idea that I’m just going to ache every day for a while.

Nothing particularly energetic is getting done today, but I need to rack up some more miles and I’ll do a lot of stretching and some bodyweight stuff.

  1. 21 mile walk. That’s the toughest thing I’ve done in a while, and I’ve got a feeling I’ll pay for it tomorrow
  2. An hour of calf raises, plank variations, stretching and resistance work

Two burgers, blue cheese salad, brussel sprouts and bacon, raspberries and pomegranate


1L water, 1L black coffee, 1L mint tea, 2L lemon water


5 day weekend. I’ll be done with this soon, it’s a really easy read.

In conclusion

I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’d really like another day of active rest, but I feel like I should do something a bit higher intensity.

Maybe the day off the heavy stuff will do me good. I did walk more than 20 miles today after all…

21 miles to John O’Groats

Bleak and cold, somewhere near Cold Christmas, Ware, Herts
Bleak and cold, somewhere near Cold Christmas, Ware, Herts

Day 30/83

It’s only been a month and everything has changed

I feel pretty good this morning. Subconsciously, I think my body knows I have a lazier day ahead. After really upping the effort this week, I think I deserve it.

Aches and pains persist, and I have a weird breathing thing going on. More on that when I’ve worked it out myself.

  1. Hour ish walk with family
  2. 8 mile night walk

Roast beef, cauliflower cheese, lambs lettuce and parmesan salad, blue cheese salad, cavolo nero, raspberries, pomegranate seeds

I’m starting to get a bit anal about checking the net carbs in everything I eat. I suppose that’s the whole point.

This is the 8th day of being back on keto and the results are extraordinary. The weight is absolutely flying off. I’ll be on this for at least another fortnight, then we’ll see where we are.


3L water, 1L black coffee, 1L mint tea


5 day weekend

In conclusion

The first 30 days are done. In that time I’m running again, 5km plus three times a week. I’m walking more than 50 miles a week. I’m lifting again.

Perhaps most importantly though, the diet and exercise changes are having a really positive impact on the things I needed them to. The swelling in my leg from lymphedema is really under control and I feel much less congested, tired and heavy.

12 more miles to John O’Groats, that’s 195 in total since I started this challenge. I’m on way way through Somerset and I’ll be in (near) Wales soon.

What’s next? Day 31 obviously.